27th November 2020 

Prior to the start of their assessments, our senior pupils started Monday morning in the company of their Form Teachers; Mr P, Mrs Bruce and Miss McRae.  This was to provide them with a calming platform and to give Form 8s in particular, the time to recall advice kindly given to them by Mrs Maclay last Friday.
We are all conscious that with no assessments taking place last Summer Term, this was the first more formal ‘examination’ phase our seniors had been through for a year.  However, I am proud to report that advice had been heeded and a sensible attention to the process was prevalent across our top three year groups.
When perceived pressure intensifies, so does all manner of behaviours, and I chose to ‘gather’ the school on Tuesday morning via a Teams assembly, to remind all of their responsibilities to themselves, each other, and all those involved in their support whether that be at school or at home.
The peace and quiet of Wooplaw Woods, (normally a haven for hibernating hedgehogs, field mice and squirrels), will have been interrupted by yet another visit from our Kindergarten ‘Lilliputians’ and our outdoor hungry Kindergarten staff on Wednesday.  The same evening, Mr Rawson responsible for the school’s nomination for the RSPB Nature of Scotland Award, was sat in his jacket and tie and pyjama bottoms, ready to collect yet another accolade on behalf of the school.  St. Mary’s was one of four organisations nominated, thanks to the superb bird box initiative Mr Rawson has driven across the primary schools of the Borders.  Not to be this year, but well done, Mr R!
A welcome break from the rigours of assessments came in the form of a senior lacrosse session led by Mrs Al Richards.  Pupils really enjoyed their introduction to this popular sport and staff were very grateful to Mrs Richards for providing such an enjoyable games alternative.
Not to be outdone by Kindergarten, Forms 1 and 2 have headed off to Harestanes for their own woodland walk.  They were wrapped up warm and ready for their outing, first thing this morning and we are sure the fresh air will do them all the world of good.  Meanwhile, as I type, the middle and senior school pupils are gearing up for the Abbey Park relay this afternoon.  This great addition to the school calendar, introduced by Mr Inwood two years ago, is hotly anticipated.
A further piece of news we want to share with you is the rather splendid request from Form 8 pupils that they be allowed to wear school uniform from Monday onwards.  They approached Mr P to make this request and we as a staff have been rather touched that they have come up with this lovely suggestion.  Needless to say, the necessary risk assessments re use of changing rooms etc. have been carried out.
Finally, Mrs Currie hands over the Reception reins to Mrs Lee (and her able assistant Mrs Harvey) today, until she returns after Christmas.  Mrs Lee has been getting to know the class over the last couple of weeks, and we feel very privileged to have such an able, like-minded classroom practitioner to take over from Reception’s very own ‘Snow White’.  Mrs Lee, Mrs Harvey and the nine ‘dwarfs’ will keep in touch with Mrs Currie through the ‘magic window’ we have all become so accustomed to using these past few months.  It goes without saying, we all wish Mrs Currie ‘safe passage’.
Mr H.

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